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Predictive Consumption

Effortless Customer Service

Here is a fascinating new and hot concept in customer service: Predictive Consumption. I was working with my friends at SAP on an upcoming article and webinar. We were discussing the concept of moving away from excellent customer service to effortless customer service. What are customers looking for in the world of customer service? They want an easy, hassle-free, pleasant experience.


For example, if a customer has a problem or question, a good service interaction should require a minimal amount of effort to resolve the issue, for both the customer and the service agent. What customers are looking for is a solution that is resolved quickly and as easily as possible, or should I say, as effortlessly as possible. Maybe the customer calls a company and the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software recognizes the customer’s phone number. This allows the agent to get all of the information necessary to start taking care of the customer before the conversation begins, rather than the customer having to share his or her account number, the last four numbers of their social security number, and mother’s maiden name. For example, when I call American Airlines from my mobile or office phone, their system always recognizes my number and greets me by name when the agent comes on to help. They know what flights I’m booked on and they are ready to deal with my question or problem almost immediately. Another effortless customer service example is audio recognition, which is software that can recognize a customer’s voice. In just a short sentence or two, which can take place during a short verbal interaction when the customer service rep greets the customer, the software is able to confirm and identify the customer’s voiceprint. Again, not having to put the customer through the drill of answering traditional security questions creates a more streamlined and effortless process that enhances the customer’s experience. How easy do you make it for a customer to connect with you? Does your website have a phone number, easily found, on every page? When the customer calls, is the wait time minimal? When they contact you via email, is the response within minutes – and not hours? How easy is it to return or exchange an item?

I think you get the idea. You want your customer service to be effortless.

The concept of Predictable Consumption takes effortless customer service to the next level. As a most basic example, think about what would happen if your grocery store knew you were about to run out of your favorite cereal. And without having to call them, it shows up on your doorstep. Or you may work at a warehouse and the chemical company that delivers cleaning supplies shows up just as you are about to reorder. It doesn’t take a crystal ball. This is done through analytics that is tracking the individual customer’s buying patterns. This concept will become hot. It will also allow companies to create a subscription based model. This is where customers make ongoing payments via credit card or automatic bank transfers, to get their products delivered just in time. The less effort a customer makes to do business with you, the better. Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn.

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